Whistles were rarely used to accompany dances but were instead employed to play love songs and to set up trysts, to single a charge in battle or to signal to another hunting party that game had been sighted (Grant, 1990, p. 333).
Eastman, C. (1990). Wigwam evenings: Sioux folk tales retold. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska.
Notched sticks have several disadvantages over drums: they certainly do not have the ability to be heard as well and they lack the resonance that both American Indians and Westerners appreciate about the playing of a drum. They also lack the musical authority (which can be seen as the affective side of resonance) that a drum possesses. One can imagine the gods speaking through the voice of a drum, for example, but not through a notched stick.
Music and Dance as Political Protest
During ceremonies dancers followed the beat of the drum [although not necessarily of other instruments], which usually differed from the rhythm of the song being sung. The beat of the drum was supposed to govern the movements of the legs, body, and arms, while the song, in a different rhythm, had to do with the feelings. At times there were as many as three rhythms, or a rhythm within a rhythm in the singing, and a different rhythm for the drum (Grant, 1990, p. 293).
Densmore, F. (1918). Teton Sioux music. Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology Bulletin 61. Washington DC: Government Printing Office.