Claude Shannon, known as the father of information theory, defined information as the resolution of uncertainty, a form of surprise. I got that nugget from Zat Rana's newsletter.
Comedian Gilda Radner said "humor is just truth, only faster". Neuroscientist Daniel J. Levitin wrote that "style is just another word for 'repetition'".
And another distilled definition I like is reading is high-speed empathy. I believe Marshall McLuhen said it, although I can't confirm. McLuhen also supposedly said that art is anything you can get away with.
Is there a punchy definition for music? One that doesn't include cheesecake and we can all agree on?