I learned Smash the Windows at the Mulligan’s Irish Session, and it was Richard Jones that suggested it. It’s an Irish jig, and when I play it, it makes me smile.
Today, I directed the Rocky Mountain Irish Festival Best of the Feis Fiddle Contest (now that’s a mouthful.) Richard Jones was one of my judges, and when I got home, this is the tune that I thought of.
It is in Cole’s 1000 fiddle tunes if you are looking for sheet music to it.
Smash the Windows according to Fiddler’s Companion
SMASH THE WINDOWS  (Bris Na Fuinneogide/Fuinneoga). AKA and see “Jelly Jig” (American), “Roaring Jelly,” “Smash the Windlass” (Shetland). Irish, English, Shetland, Canadian, American; Single Jig or Slide (12/8 time). Shetland, Island of Whalsay. USA, New England. Canada, Prince Edward Island. D Major. Standard tuning. AB (Kershaw): AAB (Miller & Perron, Moylan, O’Neill/1850, 1001 & 1915): AA’B (Phillips): AABB (Ashman, Johnson, Kerr, Levey, Perlman): AABB’ (Begin, Mulvihill). The melody, an exceptional jig tune, has been solidly absorbed into the core repertoire of several genres. British sources seem to predate all others, with the earliest appearance of the melody in John Fife’s manuscript copybook, compiled between 1780 and 1804. Fife was a fiddler, perhaps from Perthshire, although it appears he may have gone to sea for part of the time period covered by his manuscript. A rather anonymous collection of dance figures (Contra Dances) dating from about 1800 also includes a dance with this title [American Antiquarian Society]. The first printing appears to be in W.M. Cahusac’s Annual Collection of Twenty Four Favorite Country Dances for the Year 1809 (London), “with directions for each dance; as they are Performed at Court, Bath, and all Public Assemblies.” However, an American publication of around the same time, G. Graupner’s Collection of Country Dances and Cotillions (Boston, Mass., c. 1808-1811), also contains the tune. American flute player R.B. Washburn, who compiled his tune and dance collection from 1616-1820, included it in his manuscript copybook. Martin Mulvihill gives this tune as an accompaniment for the dance The Haymakers’ Jig. Sources for notated versions: a c. 1837-1840 MS by Shropshire musician John Moore [Ashman]; the melody is contained in the Joseph Kershaw manuscript—Kershaw was a fiddler who lived in Slackcote, Saddleworth, North West England, in the 19th century, and his manuscript dates from around 1820 onwards [Kershaw]; the 1823-26 music mss of papermaker and musician Joshua Gibbons (1778-1871, of Tealby, near Market Rasen, Lincolnshire Wolds) [Sumner]; Danny Gardella [Phillips]; accordion player Johnny O’Leary (Sliabh Luachra region of the Cork-Kerry border) [Moylan]; Carl & Jackie Webster (Cardigan, Central Kings County, Prince Edward Island) [Perlman]; Dawson Girdwood (Perth, Ottawa Valley, Ontario) [Begin]; from the playing of piper Séamus Ennis (Dublin), who learned them from his father, a piper taught by Nicholas Markey who in turn had been taught by the renowned piper and pipemaker Billy Taylor of Drogheda and later Philadelphia [Breathnach].
Michael Friedman says
Excellent musical performance.
Kate Barnhart says
Love this tune, Vi. Hope to learn it.
Vi Wickam says
Excellent! Jig it up. 🙂
Michael Friedman says
Wonderful musical performance !