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Melodically speaking, my worth's never none;
Proportionally speaking, I'm a downer if under one;
I'm wont to overlap;
Or get up in a snap;
But when I am used, I hope it's not for a ton.

What am I?

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I think the answer might be

Scale

Melodically speaking, my worth's never none;

A musical scale is any set of musical notes ordered by fundamental frequency or pitch. Practising scales is a fundamental part of learning a musical instrument and is never worthless.

Proportionally speaking, I'm a downer if under one;

A scale is a representation in proportional dimensions of one object to another usually represented as a ratio or fraction. If this ratio or fraction is smaller than one, we are looking at a downsized version of the original object.

I'm wont to overlap;

Scales are plates protecting the skin of fish and reptiles which tend to overlap.

Or get up in a snap;

Scale also means to climb

But when I am used, I hope it's not for a ton.

A scale is an instrument for weighing. Usually this is for small amounts so most scales would not cope well with a ton of weight.

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times

Melodically speaking, my worth's never none;

the "time" in music is a description of number of notes per stanza, and never zero

Proportionally speaking, I'm a downer if under one;

in the positive numbers, any number "times" a number below 1 is reduced.

I'm wont to overlap;

times of events often overlap

Or get up in a snap;

Times up!

But when I am used, I hope it's not for a ton.

It's happened "a ton of times" - grammar we might prefer not to see.

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  • $\begingroup$ Ultimately not what I was thinking, but an entirely reasonable alternative. If the intended answer doesn't come through, I'll accept this one! +1 $\endgroup$ – anodyne Mar 18 at 19:40

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