Ahmet SAY

   Son of mathematician Fazil Say, Ahmet Say was born in Istanbul, in 1935. It was from private tutors that he took his first piano lessons at early ages. He then continued his musical education at the Conservatory of İstanbul Municipality, studying piano, music theory and harmony between the years 1945 and 1950. Graduating from high school, he went to Germany, where he stayed from 1954 to 1960 to receive higher education degree in media and publishing. Meanwhile, he developed interest in musicology with musicologist Kurt Köhler as his mentor. Upon his return to Turkey, he was officially sent to Bingöl, where he worked as an instructor, folklorist and public trainer. This opportunity gave him the chance to explore the resources of the folk tradition and to this end, he collected and recorded folk songs, dirges, tales and legends. He also set up choirs of folk songs and groups of folk dancing (1960-64). His impressions and experiences in Bingöl produced broad gains in the field of literature.

       He was awarded for his novel and short stories and one of his story books was published in Berlin in 1985.

       Ahmet Say, as an intellectual of principles, underwent hardships like all  other Turkish men of intellect, due to his struggles for true democracy in Turkey particularly during the years succeeding the 1971 military coup and later on owing to the policies of 1980 military intervention which entailed human rights violations and bans on freedom of speech and ideas. His novel, Kocakurt, is about the adventures of an interesting young man he met under such cirtumstances.      

       Say, who started to publish “Türkiye Yazıları”, a monthly periodical of literature, with leading literary figures of the country in 1977, went on with its publication in the two years following the 1980 coup. Yet, in its sixth year, he wrote that the anti-democratic conditions of the time made it difficult for such a periodical of literature continue freely, saying that “the worst censorship is autocensor”, and ceased its publication at its 72nd edition in 1982.

       The manager of the Music Encyclopedia Publications, which he founded in 1985, Say has so far written numerous books for the conservatories and music departments of universities in Turkey. Also renowned as a music critic, Ahmet Say has attracted publicity with his writings on music criticism.



• The Music Makers in Turkey (English 1995, Turkish 1998)

• Music Encyclopedia, 3 volumes (2005)

• History of Music, 6th edition (1995, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2004, 2006)

• Music Education, 4th edition (1994, 1997, 2000, 2004)

• Music Theory, 3rd edition (2001, 2003, 2005)

• Dictionary of Music, 2nd edition (2003, 2005)

• Mozart (Ed. 2006)

• Music Writings (2007)


• Kocakurt (novel), 3rd edition (2007)

• Bingöl Stories, 10 stories, 4th edition (2007)

• Cat Riding Upside Down on a Silken Carpet, 2nd edition (Turkish: 1982, 2007, German: 1985)

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