After a brief period as an elementary and high school music teacher, Saygun won a contest sponsored by the Ministry of Education which enabled him to go to Paris to study music in 1928. He returned to Turkey in 1931 and resumed teaching. He was forced to resign from a post as conductor of the Ankara Presidential SO because of hearing failure. A position as an inspector of Halkevis or cultural institutions led to his research into Turkish folk music, collaborating with Bartók. This earned him a reputation as a leading authority on folklore. He is known as a notable figure in the Turkish Five and enjoys a rich creative life in addition to his accomplishments in research. His compositions are a combination of Romantic and Impressionist styles, with later works that employ more recent techniques. The oratorio =Yunus Emre= brought his work to the attention of the world.