Scott and the artist, William Johnstone, were cousins. They shared a vision of a “splendid revival, a Scottish Renaissance of the arts” and like their friend, the poet Hugh MacDiarmid, they believed in the importance of creating a distinctively Scottish culture. During the inter-war years composer and painter united with MacDiarmid in condemnation of the subservience of Scottish culture to English values. In his music Scott explored a distinctively Scottish idiom, drawing on the conventions of Scottish folk music and speech rhythms. He set many of MacDiarmid's poems to music as well as verses by earlier Scottish poets such as Robert Burns.