I think music is the highest levered creative form.
Rationale: Songs are short. You can write a song in a few minutes. Paul McCartney wrote Yesterday in one minute! A huge number of very famous songs that may live on forever have been written in quick blinks of inspiration.
You probably could write a poem or create some abstract Pollickesque work of art in a similarly small period of time but neither of these formats have the potential, like a song, to live internally in the hearts and minds of as many people because these two creative forms are somewhat less accessible–or just don’t have the same audience of ease of distribution.
You certainly can’t create an enduring movie in one minute. (Though when Vine was a thing I guess I was impressed at what could be accomplished in a few seconds of video.)
Still, music comes out on top when we consider the size of the popular, possible audience and the very rare reality that songs that reach billions and may live on until the end of time can, and have been, created in a flash.
Expression mediums ranked below by accessibility to consumers:
- Passive activity: The way the story looks & sounds is precisely presented to you. You’re there, mostly, to take it the way it’s presented. Some films sometimes challenge us to think or leave things open to interpretation. It’s far more often that the narrative is very clear so little thought is required.
- Our emotional connection with “sound and space” (music) is primal. It’s a powerful force that quickly grabs a hold. Scientists and mathematicians can write formula that reliably predict how pleasing a pattern of sounds will be to us. We’re programmable. Music can take a hold of us. Thoughtful songwriters who use metaphor challenge our minds more. Instrumental music–jazz and classical–is far less accessible and take commitment to appreciate.
- Fine Art
- Far more mysterious than the first two. If there is no audio stimulus the creator must be more precise with the other decisions made.
- Consuming words requires more action and energy our part. Given there is almost no barrier for entry into this space — no expense or fancy equipment — it’s abundant so discernment around what’s worth consuming is the most challenging with words and completing a book takes a massively longer period of time than any of the other creative forms. The length of time and increased energy expenditure around the consumption of words means we end up with a, possibly, deeper relationship with the work and gives the author a chance to have a deeper impact on an audience.